A marine biologist scalped in a workplace accident is recovering well, and says her injury has given her greater insight into her work.
Dr Pia Winberg was working in her lab near Nowra on February 7, when her hair became caught on a drive shaft, ripping her scalp from her head.
"I have no memory after bending down to pick up a hose," she said.
"I had on all the correct safety gear but somehow my hair was drawn into this tiny little hole."
Dr Winberg said she opened her eyes after the incident and thought she was in a "terrible dream".
"I remember opening my eyes and wondering why my hair was tangled in a drive shaft," she said.
"Even though my hands were crimson with blood, there was no pain awareness. I was just thinking what a bizarre dream it was, untangling my hair from a drive shaft."
While she can't remember it, Dr Winberg has been told she carried her bloody scalp 200 metres back to an office, where she told a colleague there'd been an accident.
"I do recall hearing her [the colleague's] voice, and then I remember paramedics saying there would be helicopter arriving in 20 minutes," she said.
When paramedics arrived, they found Dr Winberg in a serious condition, having lost a substantial amount of blood. She was transported to St George Hospital via helicopter, and stabilised by paramedics while in flight.
When she arrived at the hospital, she was taken into surgery, where surgeons tried to reattach Dr Winberg's scalp.
"It wasn't possible because it had been detached for too long," Dr Winberg said.
So doctors created what Dr Winberg called "a magic skin graft" from her thigh, to cover the 13cm hole on her head.
"The graft has attached well and I have to thank the amazing doctors and surgeons," she said.
"I'm feeling very blessed and very lucky."
Dr Winberg was discharged from hospital on Thursday and said the injury had given her a new insight into her career as a marine biologist, and her work with seaweed as a tool for wound healing.
In order to help the skin graft attach and heal, Dr Winberg had a vacuum pump attached to her scalp.
"I'm now more well informed about how complex the scalp really is," she said.
"I've been able to jump right into the deep and and talk with surgeons about how we can heal wounds and scalp by printing scaffolds made from seaweed extracts," she said.
Dr Winberg said she was eager to put what she's learnt from the experience back into her research.
"I think I'll be back in the saddle very soon and I'm very grateful for that despite the new hairstyle."
She also thanked her friends and the wider community for the support she's received over the past week.
"It's a shame this had to happen to appreciate the friends and network that come to the fore when you experience something like this," she said.
"But people here in Nowra, and the Illawarra - we are one big team, and it feels lovely."